AUSTIN – For the week ending Dec. 6, 2014, Texas auctions quoted feeder cattle prices mostly steady to $8 higher per hundredweight (cwt), with a few locations as much as $15 higher and some $3 to $4 lower. Texas direct feeder cattle sales were $1 to $4 lower. No cash fed cattle sales were reported for Texas, while prices were $5 lower per cwt in Kansas and Nebraska. Texas formula sales were $1 higher. Wholesale beef values were lower. Weekly beef exports were down 33 percent from the previous week and down 23 percent from the prior four-week average. Export shipments were down eight percent from the previous week and 13 percent lower than the average.
Cotton prices were lower for the week as markets remained under pressure from large world supplies and cheaper crude oil, which lowered the cost of competing synthetic fibers. On a more positive note, reports show that cotton production in China and India may come in lower than current USDA projections. USDA NASS has suspended its weekly crop progress and condition reports until after the first of the New Year. Export commitments are running a little ahead of last year’s pace, but actual shipments are lagging. Cotton export sales for the week were down 45 percent from the previous week and five percent lower than the average. Shipments were down one percent from a week earlier, but up 32 percent from the average.
Wheat cash prices were higher due to concerns about cold temperatures and lack of snow cover on the U.S. Plains. Dry conditions in Australia and wet weather in Russia also provided concerns. Wheat export data came in on the low end of expectations, with sales down 26 percent from the previous week and 14 percent from the prior four-week average. Export shipments were down 13 percent from a week ago, but 54 percent higher than the average.
Corn and grain sorghum prices followed soybeans and wheat higher, with little change in supply and demand fundamentals. Export data were supportive. Corn export sales were up 24 percent from the previous week and 65 percent higher than the prior four-week average. Shipments were up 21 percent from a week ago and 46 percent higher than the average.
Much of the state recorded precipitation during the week, but totals of one-half inch or more were limited to coastal counties and parts of East Texas. Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor showed conditions in Texas near unchanged, with 66 percent of the state in some degree of drought or abnormal dryness. Twenty-two percent of the state remains in severe, extreme or exceptional drought, which is unchanged from last week. Nationally, 48 percent of the country is experiencing abnormal dryness or some degree of drought, up one percentage point from a week ago.
Additional information on agricultural weather, crop progress and agricultural markets can be found on the TDA Market Newspage.
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All cash prices above are market averages for locations covered by the USDA Market News program and do not reflect any particular sale at any specific location. Feeder cattle prices are for Texas direct sales of 650-850 pound medium and large No.1 steers for current delivery. Futures prices are quoted for the nearest month contract on the last trading day of the week. Timber prices are from the Texas A&M Forest Service, bimonthly “Texas Timber Price Trends.” MBF = thousand board feet. For additional information, contact TDA at (800) 835-5832 or visit our website, www.TexasAgriculture.gov.